Tag Archives: las vegas

Pursuit of Happiness

After our memorable passage in Las Vegas and a very short night, our next stop was Zion  National Park. Some of us could handle the lack of sleep better than others and yes, some were a bit hungover. Therefore the Hoover Dam, which is only a half an hour outside of Vegas, looked a bit less impressive to some. After a cafeine break at Starbucks, the fallen had resurrected and we were ready for Zion, little did we know that all hell would break loose just hours later.

Zion (not the city from The Matrix)

So all was well when we entered Zion, the friendly park ranger (some aren’t) assured us that we could see the majority of the cool stuff before dusk. So full of newly discovered energy we started the first of our hikes, towards the ‘waterfall’. When we arrived at the fall, we were overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of this place. We took a moment to let it all sink  in (pun intended) and then set sail towards the next point of interest. When it started raining we first welcomed the refreshness, cause it was smoking hot. What we didn’t wanted was the freaking thunder and lightning. Offcourse none of us were prepared for this downpoor. We had to make a run for shelter, except Silke, who seemed to relish these conditions, it was just a stroll in the park for her. Rain was falling really hard now, streets got flooded, children were crying, Liesbeth was freezing, it was sheer bloody panic. (I may have exaggerated there a little bit) Unfortunately this meant that we had to turn back and cut our Zion trip short. After a longer sleep than usual, we felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle Bryce Canyon. At our first lookout point we were sadly reminded of the arrogance of the French. At one of the most beautiful vistas we’d encountered on our trip, some French woman plainly uttered these words “Ca ne me dit rien”. Needless to say that we were Godsmacked by that comment. Or as Stefanie would say it “Ta Gueule”.

Awkwardness

After Bryce our next stop was Page, this was a gateway towards Antelope Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend and Lake Powell. When checking in for our 2 day home in Page, Klaas was responsible for our worst awkward moment of the trip (so sorry you guys). He made the mistake that Americans possess some sort of intelligence. He thought wrong. The dude at the registration office clearly had set his sights on a career in stand up comedy, but will never get there. Next morning we had booked a tour to go see the Antelope Canyon. One of the must see things on our trip. We had the privilige to have a guide all to ourselves and when Silke discovered that Josh (the guide) was a Indian rapper (he’s not bad at playing the flute too), she couldn’t wipe that smile off her face all day (she just has a thing for hip hop). In fact, this gave her the courage to be brave. At Lake Powell, she wanted to swim towards ‘Lonely Rock’. For those who haven’t been to Lake Powell, Lonely Rock stands right in the middle of the lake and for a normal human being this would take at least 45 minutes to swim. Silke thought it could be done in 15 though, luckily Klaas and Antony talked some sense into that girl. But Silke just couldn’t let it go, all she thought about was, touching that rock which stood in the middle of the lake. Because this urge became unbearable, she went looking for other options, enter Kyler Hopper. Silke had noticed that a boat was very close to shore and 2 guys were occupying it. She put on her bold shoes and simply asked if those men could take her to the rock. Because this is America and not Europe, they invited us on their boat and took us out for a spin. What happened next was nothing short of awesomeness. We all jumped off a 5m cliff, Silke got to touch the rock and then to top things, Kyler pulled out his wakeboard (no pun intended). We all had a go at it, but only Liesbeth managed to stand up and ride that board. She then later admitted that she took wakeboarding lessons a long time ago, but she doesn’t remember it that well. Sure didn’t look that way Liesbeth, but impressive of her nonetheless. Afterwards Antony made sure we had another awkward moment when he and Kyler had a weird manhugshakehands moment.

The epic conclusion

After stops at Arches NP and Mesa Verde NP, it was finally time for the big one, The Grand Canyon. For all but one it was the first encounter with this wonder of nature. The sheer size and scale of it, is beyond anyone’s imagination and one can just admire and absorb this place. For those of you who are planning to visit the Grand Canyon, Nos Klatos recommends the Bright Angel trail hike.
Afterwards our next stop was Lake Havasu, a lake right in the middle of the desert. What we found there was something that no one could prepare us for. Being Western Europeans we are used to mild temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees. At Lake Havasu, we had to face more than 45 degrees. Needless to say that we just melted away. Luckily Lake Havasu is watersport heaven, so we decided this was the perfect place to have some Jetski fun and fun it was. But jetskiing isn’t the only reason why Nos Klatos will never forget Lake Havasu, this is the place where we first saw The Dark Knight Rises, the epic conclusion to the trilogy.

Be sure to tune in for the epic conclusion of our trip.

     

     

     

     

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All we do is win

Yosemite was the first national park stop of our entire journey. Some of us felt that this was the real start of our adventure … into the wild. Although after checking into our hotel in Mammoth Lakes it felt more like the start of a jet set lifestyle. Our room could easily be called a suite and the pool/hot tub facilities were more than welcome after every single one of us thought that the national parks ment a slow wifi connection and almost no comfort. Boy were we wrong.

The past couple of weeks our main visits were to the big cities which made our first encounter with Yosemite National Park even more amazing. Being surrounded by only nature made us feel little but oh-so fantastic. With a swim in Tenaya Lake and a hike with wildlife views we ended our first afternoon in Yosemite. Our second day was an early start, knowing that we almost had to drive three hours – special thanks to Klaas and his early morning driving skills – to get into the Valley. An effort for some us but defenitaly worth it if we’d knew what was going to happen that day. Deciding that we’d walk part of the Valley was not exactly the easiest way out – it was around 34°C – but probably one of the best decisions we made. Cause this time around … best things were saved for last. We hiked out to the Yosemite Falls with low hopes for the waterfalls since rangers told us that due to a dry winter there wasn’t a lot of water in the Valley. Let that now be exactly what made these waterfalls so amazing. The fact that there wasn’t a lot of water made it possible for us to climb the rocks – sketchy at times, especially the climbing down part – and swim towards the waterfall so that we could stand right under it. These are moments and experiences that are hard to explain cause no matter how hard we’d try there is no way that anyone who wasn’t there would understand it. But pictures might seal the deal.

As stoked as we were by Yosemite we were totally ready to hit the road for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. At least that was until we google mapped one last time the exact route from Mammoth Lakes to the entrance of the parks. What we thought would be a two hour drive suddenly seemed a five to six hour drive, because there were only two entrances to the park. Two entrances that were on the entire other side than we were. Which ment we had to drive about six hours to the park and another five to our next hotel. But once arrived in the park and a few hikes with breathtaking views and the most enthousiastic and in some ways weird ranger that we ever encountered we can easily say that the long road was worth it.

Leaving the woods and green valleys behind us we made our way into Death Valley; abonded landscapes as far as you could see with amazing color palettes. Being from Belgium these are landscapes that we only know from the movies, television or magazines. Now to see these with your own eyes was simply flawless. To end our day in Death Valley we stopped by a ghost town close to the town we were going to stay that night, not knowing that the town we were staying at, Beatty was going to look more like a ghost town than the one in Death Valley. The town existed for 80% out of trailers and RV parks and the more we entired the town the more nervous we got to find out what place we were going to stay at. Almost every hotel/camping/rv park had the same name so we mixed up our place with another one. One that looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie and while we were already making plans on what to do if we’d had to get out of this place as soon as possible we found out that we were at the wrong place – thanks to the super friendly owner of the ‘not so good looking rv park’. While he explained that we had to be at the big hotel with palmtrees and that we couldn’t miss it we suddenly got super excited about how our place was going to look like. And yes, we definitely had ourself the best place in Beatty; one again pool and hot tub included. Beatty might be a weird looking town but we did found ourself the second best pizza place ever there: KC’s outpost saloon and eatery.

The rainfall from the night before made it impossible for us to enter most parts of Death Valley due to flooded areas the day after so we had to cancel some of our plans and head straight to Las Vegas. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which wasn’t exactly the best hotel we’ve ever been at -mainly cause you had to pay extra for everything you wanted to do, think about entering the paradise pool – but maybe that had something to do with the fact that Timbaland was the host for the weekend at the hotel.
They always say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…so same story with us. Although we can tell you this; luck was definitely on our side during our gambling night in Vegas!

 

  • Antony confuses bus shelters with parking exits.
  • Stefanie realised that climbing down rocks with wet shoes is NOT a good idea
  • It DOES rain in California during summer
  • Liesbeth had to show her ID almost every other minute in Vegas
  • Klaas is the most hardcore driver of us all
  • Due to the heat some restrooms in national parks spread the worst smell ever
  • Silke was very close to meeting Timbaland
  • The Belaggio was as amazing as we all expected it to be
  • Nos Klatos took over the Apple Store in Las Vegas // we managed to install our blog as the homepage on every computer, which gave us our visitor record of 226 in one day. So to all our Apple newcomers : WELCOME!
  • Klaas his iPhone is being a non factor in the States

      

     

     

     

     

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